I came across an intriguing blog where the author discusses why chaos magic disappoints him, as well as why that disappointment is good. As I read his posts I found myself nodding in agreement, seeing some of my own frustrations expressed. Like me, he recognized that there has been a distinct lack of inquiry into why and how magic works in favor of simply shrugging off that it does work. It’s the lack of questioning and critical inquiry that bothers me, and not just in chaos magic, but really in just about any system of magic that’s currently out there.
What I want to know, and what he doesn’t really discuss, is why there isn’t more experimentation with magic? And let me be clear: I don’t think of chaos magic as a form of experimental magic at this point and I don’t think it’s been that way for quite a while. Ok you can borrow from other systems and put together a ritual that’s a combination of those systems or you can create an entity or do a sigil. But that’s the extent of it, and the extent is focused on obtaining a result. Being a process oriented magician, I think of a result as an indicator about the process, and useful in its benefits to my life, but I want more…I want a process I can use to achieve consistent results, and where if something doesn’t occur, I can go in and fix it.
The process is more than just that. It’s coming up with an idea and then testing that idea by developing a process to support the implementation of it into your life. It’s experimenting with the idea, testing the idea and the process, until you are satisfied you’ve gotten everything out of it that you can achieve.
I see a lot of contemporary work that I’d label as experimental magic, which others would label as chaos magic. And I’ve been labeled a chaos magician even though its not a label I hold to. I think the difference comes down to an orientation on process. I care about the result, but it’s not the only reason I’m practicing magic.